Alexis Clark

Alexis_Clark-NYU-Mar17

Continuing our series of activist profiles, today we talk to Vegan Outreach Intern Alexis Clark. A New Jersey native, Alexis was asked to leaflet colleges in her home state, as well as in New York City and Long Island, NY. To date, she’s distributed over 12,000 booklets!

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m originally from Wall, NJ. And after leaving for a few years to attend various colleges, I’m back for the time being.

What got you interested in animal rights and veganism?

I started removing animal products during my first year of college when I realized how the food we eat affects not just our physical health, but our mental health as well. Although my original motivation was health, once I made the full transition I was ready to open my mind up to the ethical reasons of why veganism is necessary if we truly love animals and want a more peaceful world.

How did you get involved with Vegan Outreach and leafleting?

I actually found out about Vegan Outreach when I received a leaflet during my first year at Rutgers University! Once I became vegan, I immediately wanted to join the fight to end animal suffering. I contacted Vegan Outreach to ask about internships, and I was put in contact with Outreach Coordinator Kimberly Moffatt, and I joined her at several New Jersey schools for two weeks as a volunteer. Now I’m on my own tour!

Do you have a favorite leafleting moment to share?

By far the best moment I’ve had leafleting was when I gave a leaflet to a mother and her young son. They read the information and told me they were both going to stop eating meat. It was just so encouraging as an animal rights activist to see a mother give her child such important information at such a young age, knowing that he could make the connection.

What do you do for fun when you’re not leafleting?

I love to travel! I’m currently planning a six-month cross-country trip for next year—I plan to visit a bunch of animal sanctuaries. I’ve been spending my spare time researching how to convert a cargo van into a livable space. I also paint!

Do you have anything else you’d like to add about leafleting?

It’s such a rewarding experience knowing that you’re getting information out to people who might have no idea what’s going on inside the factory farming industry.

Can you tell us one of your favorite vegan products to share with our readers?

Look out for NUMU Vegan Cheese! It isn’t currently available in stores, but you can have it on pizza at a number of restaurants in NYC—check out NUMU’s Instagram for a list. If substituting cheese is something you’re worried about, I’m telling you, you’ll never miss real cheese again.


Southwestern Bean and Rice Chili

By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Development

Southwestern Chili

“Can you cook?” It’s a question I never really know how to answer. If qualifying as a good cook simply requires possessing the ability to read and follow instructions, then yes, I can cook. Though some of my high school teachers would scoff reading that! If, on the other hand, it requires being able to create original recipes that taste good, then no, I can’t cook.

Usually, when I cook a meal without a recipe, I end up wishing I had at least glanced at other similar recipes to get an idea of what to do. This chili is a rare exception to that. And despite the fact that I, ahem, meant to make soup, this chili is now my pride and joy! I hope you like it as much as I do!

Southwestern Bean and Rice Chili

Yields 2-3 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • Handful of Beyond Meat chicken strips
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 beefsteak tomato
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chilis in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Handful of spinach
  • Salt and pepper (if needed)
  • Vegan sour cream, cheese shreds, and tortilla chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook the rice according to directions on package.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil on non-stick skillet and add Beyond Meat strips over medium heat. Cook, flipping as needed until lightly browned and heated through.
  3. Remove Beyond Meat strips from heat and set aside.
  4. Drain the beans and wash and chop the tomato.
  5. Add beans and tomato to skillet and cook until softened.
  6. Add tomato paste and chilis in adobo sauce. Mix well.
  7. Add broth and spinach and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, until spinach is a bit wilted. Remove from heat.
  8. Carefully add rice and bean mixture to food processor and mix well. Add more broth if needed to thin out the chili. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed—make sure you taste first because the adobo sauce and the broth already have salt.
  9. Garnish with vegan sour cream, cheese shreds, and tortilla chips if you like, and enjoy!

Giveaway—Fauxgerty Ethical Apparel

By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Development

Fauxgerty-3-Jackets

Last summer I learned from a friend that an ethical apparel company had opened in my hometown of St. Louis, MO. I was so thrilled and had to find out more!

I’m a little late to the game, as Fauxgerty was created in 2013, but you know what they say—better late than leather!

I had the privilege of hearing all about Fauxgerty from its founder, Chrissy Fogerty, and I’m excited to share it with you now!

Lisa Rimmert: How did you get involved in the world of consciously created products?

Chrissy Fogerty: When I first began thinking about Fauxgerty, I wanted to be part of the progressive movement towards conscious consumerism in the fashion industry. Utilizing cruelty-free materials was important in our sustainability focus and ensuring our products are ethically made.

Lisa: What inspired you to start Fauxgerty?

Chrissy: I began to think about my career in fashion while I was in college, which is where I was learning about entrepreneurship. I wanted to focus on how to do better in the fashion industry because I have always felt a connection to our environment and have had a sustainable mentality.

Fauxgerty Leather Jacket

Lisa: I heard that Fauxgerty started with a faux leather jacket. Why did it begin there? And how did Fauxgerty grow from that idea?

Chrissy: I fell in love with the evolution of the motorcycle jacket and wanted to develop the next phase. We began to concept a progressive vision for the jacket—both in its design and development. That’s where it all began.

We often joke that you don’t have to get dressed if you’re wearing a rad jacket. AKA the right jacket can make your sleep t-shirt and some denim look like a winner. This is the center of our design philosophy—ensuring that our pieces are easy to love and comfortable to wear.

We decided to expand beyond outerwear to offer a range of conscious apparel to wear with your outerwear. Shopping ethically should be simple, so in the future, we plan to offer dresses, skirts, and knits.

After creating our faux leather jacket—which does contain silk—we decided to transition to be entirely vegan. We now have three collections following our vegan guidelines!

fauxgerty store front

Lisa: What is the Fauxgerty office like?

Chrissy: We have our only brick and mortar storefront in St. Louis, as well as an office down the street. We have a small team who all work their magic while listening to music and having brainstorming sessions.

At Fauxgerty we work very collaboratively—and in a small space—to ensure we’re executing the Fauxgerty vision in all departments.

Lisa: Who is your ideal customer and why?

Chrissy: We love all of our Fauxgerty mavens! Many of our customers make conscious living choices, including their wardrobe. A goal of Fauxgerty is to offer pieces that you love so much it’s easy to support ethical fashion, and I believe our customers share this vision with us.

Lisa: You donate unsold apparel to a local women’s mission. Why?

Chrissy: We are female-owned and a female-fueled team, so supporting women is very important to us. When clothing is unsold at the end of the season, we want to spread the Fauxgerty love and pass it along to our fellow sisters!

Lisa: Thank you, Chrissy and Fauxgerty! It was great to learn a little bit more about your business!

Folks, we knew you were going to love Fauxgerty, so we’re giving you the chance to win this Herby Sweatshirt of theirs.

Fauxgerty-Herby-Sweatshirt

The giveaway starts today, March 21, and ends on Thursday, March 30 at 12:00 am North American MDT. We’ll announce the lucky winner on Tuesday, April 4. Enter by clicking on the giveaway link below!

Herby Sweatshirt from Fauxgerty Giveaway

In the meantime, if you’re not in the St. Louis area, check out Fauxgerty’s website.


Ketchup Baked Home Fries

By Lori Stultz, Communications Manager

Ketchup Baked Home Fries
Photo: Renee Press / Fire and Earth Kitchen

I think we can all agree that there’s something extra special—and tasty—about homemade French fries. Renee Press with Fire and Earth Kitchen puts a spin on these spuds that ketchup lovers are going to drool over!

Ketchup Baked Home Fries

Yields 2-4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil (avocado, grape seed, or canola)
  • 5-6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (no need to peel)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup potato starch (or corn starch)
  • ⅛ cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, lightly oil baking sheet, and set aside.
  2. Cut potatoes into roughly 1″ cubes and place on baking sheet. Cover with remaining ingredients—including ketchup, but not parsley—and use your hands to toss to coat.
  3. Spread into an even layer on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip potatoes and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley, if desired, and more ketchup drizzled on top. Enjoy!

You can get Renee’s original recipe here.


Vegan in Belize—Part 1

By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Development, and Taylor Radig, Campaigns Manager

sunset

Recently, we visited the Central American country of Belize. We didn’t go together, although that would have been a blast—rather, we traveled with our respective partners. We both had such an unbelievable (unBelizeable) time!

We’ve received a lot of questions about what we did there and whether it’s hard to find vegan food, so we decided to team up and write a two-part blog post about our travels. This one, my friends, is all about food! To give two perspectives, you’ll hear from each of us about our experiences and recommendations. We hope you get to visit Belize at some point in your lives—and while we’d both describe it as “once in a lifetime,” we both plan on returning soon!

Lisa Rimmert

My husband Brad and I like to eat at restaurants. I knew this would be a bit of a challenge in Belize, but I was up to the task. Overall, I would describe eating vegan in Belize as easy enough, but pretty unexciting. A vegan certainly won’t starve in Belize—there’s rice, beans, and of course a wide variety of fruits. But most of the restaurant owners don’t get too creative with veggies. Typical finds in Belize eateries include iceberg lettuce salads, rice, steamed vegetables, fruits, and sometimes pasta.

That said, there were two restaurants in Belize that really stood out to me as great options for vegans in Belize—Vegan Bites in Belize City and Veggie Garden in Belmopan.

When you fly into Belize, you land in Belize City. Most people say to leave the city as soon as you can—and I agree—as the most interesting sights and activities are beyond city limits. We stayed in Belize City our first and last nights in the country, so we’d be nearby the airport. I was delighted to discover the hotel we chose is just next door to a vegan eatery called Vegan Bites!

Vegan Bites From Hotel

Vegan Bites is a food hut located among others in BTL Park, an oceanside recreation area and the landing site of Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis in 1927. Vegan Bites is open for lunch and dinner, though your lunch will provide enough food to eat leftovers for dinner!

The staff was very friendly, and they politely explained what dishes were available that day. There were about ten options ranging from cooked greens to bean dishes to vegan meats. Everything looked so good, and I had trouble deciding! Brad and I chose similar items, including two vegan meat dishes and a veggie dish, and we each got a fresh juice.

The food at Vegan Bites was excellent and very filling, and we got to enjoy it with a view of the Caribbean Sea!

Belize-Vegan-Bites-Food

Vegan Bites View

My second favorite restaurant, Veggie Garden, is located in Belmopan, the capital city. Belmopan is about an hour west of Belize City on the way to San Ignacio, a must-visit for tourists. Veggie Garden is a Chinese restaurant tucked away just off Hummingbird Highway. You have to be looking for it to find it, and you should be!

The service was great in this eclectic restaurant that seemed to double as a store. We ordered spring rolls, fresh juices, sweet and sour soy meat, and curry veggies. It was all very tasty. My favorites were the pitaya juice and the sweet and sour soy meat, which Brad described as “like candy!” We enjoyed the meal, and he enjoyed the leftovers for dinner!

Veggie Garden Front

Belize-Veggie-Garden-Collage

Vegan Bites and Veggie Garden were my two favorite places to eat in Belize, but I also want to mention a few other places that we, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to try—Casa Cafe in Belmopan and Roots Wraps & Smoothies in San Ignacio. Both sounded like fantastic options for vegan food.

Taylor Radig

Before we took off to Belize, my partner Ezra and I did a hefty amount of research, especially on vegan food options. The main purpose of our trip was to do as much scuba diving as possible, which we knew was going to get expensive. We read online that food was pricey on the islands off the coast of Belize and that vegan options were less than popular. On top of that, we knew that we’d need to be eating high-calorie snacks in between our dives to avoid getting fatigued underwater—something that surprisingly can pose serious risks. Typically, we don’t mind spending money on local vegan fare here in Denver, CO, but for this trip, we decided to try to limit our food expenses to the bare necessities.

A couple days before our trip, Ezra and I went to a Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store and then to a local vegan market to find some goodies to take with us. We bought about five of the dried green chile white bean soups, a big bag of Leahey Gardens’ Cheese Type Broccoli Soup and a few bags of their Red Beans and Rice. I eat both of these products at home and highly recommend them as a delicious option that travels well! We also made sure to pack a few of the Clif protein bars that we could take on the boat out to the dive sites.

dock picnic

On both of the main islands off the coast of Belize—Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye—there are small grocery stores everywhere that had a surprisingly fair amount of vegan options. We found items like meat-free soups, tofu, ingredients for a hearty pasta or Mexican dish, chips, salad dressing, and even a variety of flavored almond and soy milks—pretty much everything you’d need for either a balanced vegan diet or an exciting junk food journey!

Outside of the food we packed, I was ecstatic with the amounts of fresh coconuts and fruit juice that was available around the islands. While walking around Caye Caulker, we spotted a tiny shop that offered fresh juice. The juice was made throughout the day and the shop was run by local women, so how could we not? We ended up buying a big bottle of their watermelon, apple, and grapefruit juice.

Our favorite restaurant in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye was Caliente. I ordered the veggie burrito without cheese or sour cream, and Ezra ordered their fajitas plate. Not only were they delicious, but we were able to eat out on the beach, which allowed us to meet some adorable street dogs.

Belize-Coconut-Taylor-Ezra

While Belize isn’t best known for its amazing vegan food, it was by far one of our favorite vacation spots. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, when we tell you about the incredible activities we took part in—including swimming with sharks and feeding howler monkeys! You better Belize it!


March Giveaway Winner—Vegan Outreach Watch by Modify Watches

By Lori Stultz, Communications Manager

Modify Watch Giveaway

The results are in for our March Giveaway—Vegan Outreach Watch with Modify Watches! A huge thank you to everyone who voted in the poll.

And without further ado, the most popular vote was…drum roll, please…

Black!

Congratulations to our two lucky winners, Catherine Filus and Patricia De Mesa. You’ll be fashionably reminded of all the good work that’s being done for animals every time you check the time!

Speaking of style, you’re going to want to check out next Tuesday’s blog where we’ll announce our next giveaway. Spoiler Alert: We’ve got another apparel giveaway coming your way!

If you’re not already, please subscribe to our bi-weekly blog and weekly E-News! You’ll be kept up to date on all the recent happenings of Vegan Outreach and notified about all the free stuff we love to giveaway!


Louisville Vegan Jerky

By Jack Norris, Executive Director

Vegan Jerky

Confession: I love protein.

While some vegans are happy to have a butternut squash as their meal’s centerpiece, I consider that one small step above fasting. Bring on the Tofurky, people!

So when the TheVegetarianSite recently had a promotion for Louisville Vegan Jerky, I couldn’t resist. I’ve never had Louisville Vegan Jerky, but with a name like that, how can you go wrong? Turns out, you can’t.

Jerky Flavors

I ordered three flavors—all were great, but I preferred the Maple Bacon and the Smoked Black Pepper over the Smokey Carolina BBQ. And for you protein junkies like me, each ounce of jerky has 6-7 g of protein.

I’ve rarely eaten a vegan jerky I didn’t like, but these are my favorite so far and I’m looking forward to my next batch!

They’re also available from our friends at Pangea and VeganEssentials and direct from Louisville Vegan Jerky.


Call to Action—Take 2 Minutes to Help Get Vegan Options

By Taylor Radig, Campaigns Manager

A few months ago, Vegan Outreach launched a petition asking leading pizza chain California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), to follow the dairy-free trend in pizza and add a vegan cheese option to their menu. Despite thousands of signatures from eager customers wanting to support this option, CPK has remained silent on their future menu additions.

We want to continue to have CPK hear from their vegan and non-dairy customers—letting them know that this option would be successful!

Here are three easy steps you can take to make this happen:

Call your local California Pizza Kitchen

CPK Locations

When you call, ask to speak with the restaurant manager. Tell them how excited you would be if CPK added a vegan cheese pizza to their menu!

Show them on social media

Jona and Jack Norris

Tag #CaliforniaPizzaKitchen and #CPK to make sure your voice is heard.

Share the Petition

CPK Petition

Sign the petition at Veganoutreach.org/CPK and make an even greater impact by sharing the petition on Facebook and Twitter!

Together, we can make this vegan cheese pizza happen! Thank you in advance for your help!


Servin’ Up Seitan Wraps at Alamogordo Health and Wellness Fair

By Victor Flores, Greater New Mexico Community Engagement and Events Coordinator

Attendees-family

In February, the Alamogordo Health and Wellness Fair invited my family to participate in their annual health fair at New Mexico State University Alamogordo in Alamogordo, NM. After learning that the vendors and speakers needed to bring their own lunch, we saw a perfect opportunity to “wow” them with a vegan meal. Even though it required food for 100 people, we accepted the challenge!

There’s a vegan-friendly restaurant in nearby El Paso, TX, named Eloise that makes its own seitan that is absolutely delicious. We ordered 100 of their El Graco seitan wraps as the main entrée and rounded out the meal with veggie chips, apple braid strudel for dessert, and water infused with strawberry, kiwi, lime, and orange.

Besides having a booth set up with tons of information on the benefits of plant-based nutrition, we had an area to give out information to the vendors and speakers we fed. We intentionally set up a table in a separate area so they wouldn’t be distracted with the noise. When the speakers and vendors came to pick up their food, we made sure that everyone who got a seitan wrap also took a Vegan Outreach pamphlet. We also posted a menu so everyone knew what they’d be eating. Most were excited to try the wrap, while others were skeptical.

Boxed Lunches 2

Lunch Line 2

Lunch Line 1

After all the meals and pamphlets were handed out, I took a stroll around the entire fair to visit with the vendors while they were eating. I’m not exaggerating when I say that everyone was blown away! Some couldn’t believe the meal was vegan. Many swore the seitan had to be some type of meat since the flavor and texture were so delicious. I didn’t come across a single person who didn’t like the meal.

Many of the vendors and speakers came to our booth after lunch to request more information and vegan recipes. Several asked for our contact information to see if we could possibly do cooking classes and other community activities These groups varied from local health organizations to an organization that mentors juveniles in the juvenile detention system.

Attendee with lunch and leaflet

If you’re trying to create more vegans in your community, keep your eyes open for opportunities like this. Vegfests are fun but we’re often preaching to the choir. Look for health fairs and festivals at local schools. Offer them free vegan food and then sit back and watch lives change!


Vegan Cheese Fondue

By Lori Stultz, Communications Manager

Cheese Fondue
Photo: Sharon Palmer

If you’re hosting a party in the near future and want to impress your guests with a unique eating experience, look no further. They’ll be raving about this cheese fondue from their first bite to long after their last!

Try serving it with the list of suggested veggies or breads, or any other dip-worthy foods that that sounds good to you!

Thanks to our good friend Sharon Palmer for providing this awesome recipe! Be sure to check out Sharon’s blog for other great meal ideas like this one!

Vegan Cheese Fondue

Yields 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small, fresh yellow potatoes (i.e., Yukon gold, fingerling), peeled (see Recipe Tips section below), quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dry white wine (i.e., Chardonnay)
  • ½ cup reserved potato water
  • ½ cup unsweetened, plain plant-based milk (i.e., soy or almond milk)
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste

Dipping Ideas

  • Cubed tofu
  • Seitan strips
  • Veggie sausage chunks
  • Cube seitan
  • Bell pepper chunks or strips
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Cucumber slices
  • Asparagus spears
  • Snow peas
  • Bread cubes
  • Pita triangles

Directions

  1. Place potatoes and carrots in a medium pot, cover with water, cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, reserving ½ cup of water, and place cooked vegetables in a blender container.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet and add onions and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add onions and garlic to the blender container.
  3. In the skillet (do not clean), add cornstarch and white wine and stir with a whisk over medium heat. Stir in reserved potato water and plant-based milk until smooth. Add pepper, turmeric, nutmeg, nutritional yeast, and mustard and heat until thickened and bubbly.
  4. Pour white wine mixture into the blender container with the potatoes and onions and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings with salt as desired.
  5. Transfer this fondue mixture to a fondue pot and heat until bubbly.
  6. Serve with dipping ideas, such as cubed pieces of bread, fresh vegetables, and tofu.

Recipe Tips

  • You can peel these potatoes easily if you cook them first, and then slip off the peels when they’re done.